White Footed Ants
White-footed ants are black to brownish-black with yellowish-white feet, hence
their name. They have no sting.
White-footed ants do not bite or sting, nor have they been reported to cause any type of structural damage. They
are, however, attracted to sweet foods. It is common to find them foraging indoors for food and moisture, and
outside on hedges infested with honeydew producing insects. White-footed ants are similar to Argentine ants in that
they have been known to tend or “farm” aphids and scales to obtain the honeydew they excrete. They will also feed
on dead insects and other proteins.
They tend to inhabit huge colonies, sometimes containing up to a million individuals. Workers and reproductives may
also split up and branch off to start new satellite colonies in a process called “budding”. Mass movements of
white-footed ants carrying their larvae and pupae may be observed during budding, which can appear as a heavy black
line due to their small size and heavy trails.
White-footed ants frequently nest outside in trees and bushes, under palm fronds and
tree bark, in loose mulch, under debris and in leaf litter. Although they tend to prefer nesting outside, they can
be found in wall spaces and attics and under roof shingles. Nest sites are usually close to food and moisture
sources, and are often spread out as interconnected satellite colonies.
Several biological aspects of the White-footed ant make it a difficult pest to control, and almost impossible to
totally eliminate from an infested home. One reason is that food ingested by foraging workers is not regurgitated,
nor is it shared by others, as most ant species tend to do. This makes baits that are intended to kill the colony
White-footed ants are able to fit through extremely small openings to gain access into the home; therefore, if
entry points are located, they can be blocked by caulk or some other exclusion device. Sanitation may also help
prevent infestation. Eliminate ant access to sugars indoors by cleaning up food spills and storing food in
tight-fitting containers, especially sweets.
Eliminate potential food sources outside by controlling pests in your landscape that produce honeydew. In addition,
trim tree branches away from exterior walls to prevent ants within the tree from gaining access to structures.
Remove potential nesting sites by eliminating areas containing fallen leaves, compost piles, etc. near the